Is The Vince Staples Show Based on the Rapper’s Real Life?

In Netflix’s sitcom ‘The Vince Staples Show,’ the celebrated titular rapper plays himself as he navigates the complexities of day-to-day life. Vince walks into various challenges, predicaments, and people, ranging from a fellow prisoner who wants to hurt him to a former classmate who wants to kill him. Since the rapper is himself in the series, the viewers can’t be blamed for wondering whether the comedy show is based on his life. Well, Vince integrated several real-life occurrences into the narrative of the sitcom, which makes it loosely based on his life. But more than reality, he relies on fiction in the series to communicate what he intends to express!

The Thin Line Between Reality and Fiction

Several events that unfold in ‘The Vince Staples Show’ are based on the happenings in Vince Staples’ life, especially his arrest in the first episode of the show. “That’s happened before, so I’m not worried about it as much as I was the first time. It was just weird. There are a lot of experiences in the show that are derivative of actual life. Life is crazy, man,” the rapper told Vulture. Vince wanted to explore the “light” and “darkness” of human existence in general and he was able to do it by looking back on his own life.

“A lot of it comes from a real place. It’s just life,” Vince told Netflix’s Tudum. “Usually people pick, ‘this is a comedy or this is a drama’ [or] ‘this is serious, you can’t make it a joke.’ We lived in between those moments because that’s what life is. Sometimes things aren’t supposed to be funny but end up being hilarious. I just wanted to make sure I was showing the light sides of darkness and the dark sides of lightness,” he added. Does that mean the series is outrightly autobiographical? Not at all. Except for certain events, a lot of what happens in the show is fictitious. The rapper relied on fiction to explore reality.

“[The] utilization of perspective — a concept of how we perceive reality and the things that we ignore, versus things that we heighten. That was just the idea that I’ve always had, throughout music or just creativity in general. What are the things that we pay attention to? What are the things that really affect us and what are the things that happen in the background that are worth paying attention to?” Vince told Consequence about the foundation or inspiration behind the series. As a rapper, he must have found it easier to dive into the nuances of “reality” and “perception” through a successful musician’s life, which explains why the protagonist is a fictionalized version of himself.

Even within the fiction present in the series, there are a lot of elements, including fame and success, Vince can personally connect to, which is a part of his exploration of reality. “Life is a product of perception. When certain factors enter the picture, they change our perception and create separation between us, the most prominent being class, money, race, political affiliation, things of that nature. Within the show, we wanted to make sure we highlighted one of those elements — most significantly fame, which is interesting because it doesn’t translate everywhere,” he added to Vulture.

The subplots in the series are the results of Vince’s attempts to understand how life works. In the fifth episode, he gets chased by a former classmate known as White Boy, who ends up getting killed by the rapper. “It’s really just more so commentary on the cycle of growth and what it’s like to grow up in this environment. […] I think that’s why it was important to showcase that Vince did not remember, or know who this person [White Boy] was and nobody else did. […] It was a commentary on how we all are the same and still don’t like each other,” he told UPROXX.

In ‘The Vince Staples Show,’ fiction and reality almost dissolve together. Irrespective of what is real and fictional in the show, Vince’s narratives make us dive into some of the fundamentals of day-to-day life and existence.

Read More: The Vince Staples Show: All Filming Locations of the Netflix Series Explored